A Nationals club that already has been forced to overcome several significant injuries will likely have to overcome yet another one after catcher Wilson Ramos appeared to seriously injure his right knee in the seventh inning of Saturday night's 2-1 win in Cincinnati.
Ramos' knee buckled while trying to corral a ball that got away from him near the plate, and he immediately collapsed in a heap. After spending several minutes on the ground, head trainer Lee Kuntz and assistant trainer Mike McGowan helped the 24-year-old carefully walk off the field, not putting any weight on his right leg.
Ramos was due to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury, but manager Davey Johnson told reporters following the game he feared the catcher tore something in the knee and that he will likely be out for some time.
Jesus Flores finished the game and would take over as the Nationals' No. 1 catcher if Ramos is placed on the disabled list as expected. The 27-year-old, who had been considered the organization's long-term answer behind the plate until a major shoulder injury sidelined him nearly two years, had been seen as a possible trade chip.
Now, though, the Nationals will need to ask Flores to re-assume the everyday job while also finding a new backup. The most likely in-house candidate for a promotion is Carlos Maldonado, the 33-year-old veteran who is hitting .231 with two homers at Class AAA Syracuse. Maldonado has 25 games of big-league experience with the Pirates 2006-07) and Nationals (2010).
Ramos will become the latest key player off the Nationals' roster to miss time due to injury. Already this season, they've seen third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, left fielder Michael Morse, center fielder Rick Ankiel, right fielder Jayson Werth, utilityman Mark DeRosa, No. 5 starter Chien-Ming Wang, closer Drew Storen and setup man Brad Lidge spend time on the DL. First baseman Adam LaRoche also missed four games with a minor oblique injury.
Despite all that, the Nationals now own a 21-12 record, best in the NL East.